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Title: xPLOR: An Expandable Lightweight Shelter for Emergency Disaster Relief
Authors: Kersting, Lydon
Advisors: Kosmrlj, Andrej
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: The popularity of long-distance trekking and overnight outdoor excursions has exploded in the past century for two divergent populations - recreational outdoors people and refugees fleeing disaster. As outdoor gear has technologically advanced to meet the growing outdoor consumer demand, costs have also risen, barring lower-income peoples from safely experiencing overnight, overland recreation. There is a need for an affordable, safely-designed lightweight pack-shelter kit to enable a broader audience to experience the outdoors. Such a pack-shelter hybrid that combines load carrying with protection from the elements is critically needed by another underprivilved population - refugees fleeing disaster. While there is significant overlap between the minimal items that overnight backpackers and fleeing refugees carry - an extreme exception is shelter. Few refugees carry any form of shelter when fleeing their homes. There is also a need to provide a lightweight, portable shelter to enable a safe escape from political or military disaster. This project was developed to meet these need for a low-cost, low-weight, multifunctional pack and shelter to both enable low-income populations to afford overnight outdoor excursions and to enable political refugees to safely flee disaster. xPLOR: An Expandable Pack and Lightweight Outdoor Refuge is a multifunctional 55L pack, one person shelter, rain poncho, and pack cover. The shelter deploys from the front of the pack, and the internal pack frame and foam padding form the poles of the shelter. A detachable rain poncho doubles as a pack cover and rainfly for comprehensive weather protection. By intentionally designing each feature and repurposing pack components in the tent, xPLOR is both cheaper and lighter than the cheapest comparable kit from a discount store and the highest-end kit from specialized outdoor retailers. The ergononomically-designed pack boasts multiple adjustable features to comfortably distribute load and fit and a wide user size range. The shelter has an array of configurations to maximize performance in hot, cold, dry, and/or wet conditions. Both more inexpensive and lighter weight than an equivalent kit from budget or high-end stores, xPLOR meets or exceeds industry weather and comfort standards when compared to some of the highest quality products. Affordable, lightweight, easy and fast to manufacture, durable for years of excursions, and adaptable to multiple users, xPLOR will make the outdoors accessible to the financially underprivileged and provide safety and privacy to those fleeing disaster in search of a better life.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1924-2019

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